By John Tilak
TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index advanced on Friday to its highest ever-level as gains in shares of energy producers and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd helped the market overcome worries about heightening tensions in Ukraine.
World leaders called for an international investigation after a Malaysian airliner with 298 people on board crashed over eastern Ukraine. The incident is the latest twist in the volatile situation in the region.
Adding to global geopolitical concerns, Israel intensified its land offensive in Gaza with artillery, tanks and gunboats, while it warned of a further expansion of its operation.
The benchmark Toronto stock market index firmed from a drop in the previous session and is up about 12 percent this year.
“It's certainly a rebound from yesterday’s decline. The uptrend is still intact,” said Robert McWhirter, president and portfolio manager at Selective Asset Management.
“Individual stocks seem to be doing fairly well despite the overall grinding that we're seeing in the marketplace," he added.
He expects shares of banks and natural resource producers to help push the market higher this year.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed up 62.09 points, or 0.41 percent, at 15,266.57. Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
Shares of energy producers climbed 1.1 percent, with Suncor Energy Inc adding 0.8 percent to C$44.62 and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd rising 1.8 percent to C$48.32.
CP Rail jumped for a second straight session after reporting quarterly results on Thursday. The stock was up 3.3 percent at C$209.09 and helped fuel a 1.7 percent jump in the industrials group.
The gold-mining sector dropped 0.6 percent, weighed down by a decline in the bullion price. Goldcorp Inc fell 0.9 percent to C$29.99.
(Editing by Peter Galloway and Chris Reese)